AUGUSTA — The Maine Office of Tourism has released an updated version of the WelcomeME customer service training program in collaboration with the Maine Community College System and HospitalityMaine.

WelcomeME is a free online training program originally introduced in 2010 as a professional development tool for staff in visitor-facing industries. The program was designed to help frontline staff polish their skills through an interactive course that provides them with essential customer service skills for working with the public.

The Maine Community College System and HospitalityMaine partnered with the Office of Tourism to update the WelcomeME training program. “WelcomeME 2.0” adapts the three-step curriculum and core content of the original training for today’s workforce, with an increased focus on front-line workers understanding of the critical role they play in welcoming visitors to Maine. Upon successful completion of the training, participants receive a Maine Office of Tourism WelcomeME 2.0 digital badge awarded through the Maine Community College System.

“In addition to Maine’s natural beauty, outdoor activities and cultural assets, positive interactions are key to the visitor experience and inspire repeat visitation and referrals,” said Steve Lyons, director of the Maine Office of Tourism. “Our hope is that this training also contributes to job satisfaction and pride through understanding the important role frontline workers play in the success of our industry.”

”Everyone knows how important stellar service is for the hospitality industry in Maine. We are so pleased to be working with Maine Office of Tourism to provide this new, free WelcomeME 2.0 training program so front-line workers get comprehensive training to learn how to provide the best service possible,” said Joseph L’Africain, who helped design the training program for MCCS. “One innovative element of the training program is using video testimonials from hospitality professionals in Maine sharing their experiences and knowledge.”

“Whether you are currently in the hospitality business or just starting out, this training is applicable for anyone,” said Maureen LaSalle, HospitalityMaine Education Foundation board member and chair of the Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts programs at Southern Maine Community College. “It highlights the importance of our tourists and the impact we have on their stay. Hospitality is an exciting and rewarding career- we hope this training reminds people of the value of our industry.”

Those who wish to benefit from WelcomeME for personal professional development or for staff training can find a link to the free training program at MOTPartners.com on the Education and Training page under Additional Resources.

The Maine Office of Tourism is a state office within the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, which markets Maine as a tourist destination and helps support Maine’s tourism industry.